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Violence from patients is a real risk for medical professionals

Thousands of people in New Jersey work in various parts of the medical field. Whether they work at a hospital, nursing home or private practice, these individuals face all kinds of risks on the job. People in the medical field have more exposure to infectious diseases than others. Sick patients can expose them to serious and devastating communicable diseases.

Getting sick isn't the only occupational risk for medical staff. They run a risk of contact injuries from medical equipment or used needles. There is also the potential for a slip-and-fall injury or other common workplace injuries. One real risk for medical workers that people often overlook is the potential for injury from combative or violent patients.

Even seemingly safer medical environments can lead to violence

You wouldn't think that a nursing home would be a place where you have to worry about violence, but that is not the case. People in nursing homes often struggle with declining mental faculties or dementia. Combine that with a desire to retain their independence, and you have a perfect recipe for potential violence. People who don't understand who they are or what is happening to them are likely to lash out if frightened or upset.

Of course, nursing homes aren't the only place where medical workers can end up hurt. Emergency rooms see their fair share of patients suffering psychiatric problems or reactions to medications or street drugs. These patients may also become violent without provocation, creating a risk of injury for anyone who must work with them.

Those arrested and seeking medical care could lash out at staff in an attempt to gain their freedom from the medical facility. These examples are just a few of the workplace violence risks for medical professionals.

Violence from patients is a leading risk factor

While there are other risks, such as overexertion, trips and falls, and contact with objects, violence is the fourth most common source of risk for hospital workers. Roughly 9 percent of all reported workplace injuries in hospital settings relate to violence in the workplace. It is also a risk for those who work in nursing homes, those who provide home health care and those who work in medical offices.

While some basic training in self defense can benefit hospital workers, nothing can truly prevent a patient from becoming violent. Workers who end up injured as a result of patient violence have the right to seek workers' compensation.

Benefits may include replacement of lost wages and payment for medical costs, including therapy to recover from stress that relates to the trauma of a violent attack. Medical workers recovering from workplace violence should seek all the compensation and benefits possible to ensure a faster and more complete recovery.

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